Elderly residents of Spanish retirement homes have been found abandoned or dead in their beds by soldiers who are helping during the coronavirus pandemic.
Spain Defense Minister Margarita Robles confirmed the discoveries at multiple establishments during an interview on Telecinco’s “El Programa de Ana Rosa” on Monday, reported El Pais. She vowed to bring “the full weight of the law” down on the home administrators “who don’t meet their obligations.”
La Ministra de Defensa, Margarita Robles, asegura que serán implacables con el trato que se dé en las residencias a los ancianos: “El Ejército se ha encontrado a ancianos abandonados e incluso muertos en sus camas” #AR23Mhttps://t.co/C9JHpMXZj6
— El programa de Ana Rosa (@elprogramadear) March 23, 2020
Public prosecutors are now investigating the discoveries, reported HuffPost Spain, although it’s unclear exactly when or where they were made.
The army has been pressed into service to disinfect retirement residences nationwide after workers reportedly were instructed to leave bodies in place until a doctor arrives. AFP notes that the soaring death rate can mean bodies are left unattended for some time.
More than 35,000 cases of the coronavirus have been confirmed in Spain, where it has killed more than 2,600 people. The number of deaths in Spain, where a national lockdown is in place, is now rising quicker than any other country has previously experienced.
Rest homes have been particularly hard hit by the spread of the virus, with at least 19 residents at one establishment in the capital Madrid reportedly dying after becoming infected.
Madrid’s municipal funeral home, meanwhile, has stopped collecting victims of the outbreak because of a lack of specialist equipment. A city ice rink has been converted into a morgue.